If you heard of Le Petit Chef and the Dinner Time Story last year, then you’ll have an idea of what the Banquet of Hoshena is about. A multimedia immersive dining experience, where the food is tied to the story-line awaits you. Read on to see what the Banquet of Hoshena involves!
*Full disclosure, my ticket to the Banquet of Hoshena was free via Love Pop Ups London, in return for this honest review. All opinions remain my own*
Banquet of Hoshena – immerse yourself in a magical story
The banquet of Hoshena concept
The banquet is a five course dinner, alongside cocktails or wine (depending on which tickets you choose). The food is served to your table as the story of magical Hoshena is told. You are truly immersed in the story with it playing all around you, with various interactive elements choreographed in.
As it’s a timed choreographed ‘show’ you need to book your seat and your drinks package in advance. The tables are set up for parties of four, that would be the ideal group size to take. They also cater for all dietary requirements, as long as they know in advance and as you’ll read, some of the food is already gluten free or vegan.
Inside the Banquet of Hoshena
Behind the curtain we walked into a room set with dining tables, what looked like mannequins and mirrors. What to expect?! The tables were laid up and the lights twinkled on the diamante napkin rings.
The start of the story (& meal!)
Here was where our story of Hoshena started. The Queen introduced herself and started to explain the story, all of which was woven in with our food & drink.
Our Banquet started with an amuse bouche, hidden in a presentation box on our table. I had what seemed to be a chocolate macaron, whilst Leanne had something with a fish filling. It was a bit odd that we had different things, but apparently this was all part of the surprise!
The plates came alive with characters (mine happened to have a ‘French’ Hoshena accent!), creatures and images floated around the plates, immersing us in the tale.
As the Queen explained the fate of Hoshena to us – the Kingdom had effectively come to an end – we ate our next inspired dish: Mushroom croquettes, representing Autumn/Fall and the ‘Fall’ of the Kingdom.
Check the video to see them floating!
The Queen explained that the King had decided to remove all negative emotions from the Kingdom. Each course takes us through an emotion – the first was fear:
The fog of fear came to our table in the form of liquid nitrogen:
Our dish for this course was a chickpea soup, which talked to us (naturally!)
We also had glowing ‘ice cubes’ that we could put in our soup to light them up. This seemed a little gimmicky to me, but I loved the liquid nitrogen which added lots of wow to the table! The chickpea soup is presumably a vegan option that they don’t need to swap out for people with dietary requirements. Apart from the theatrics, it lacked a little interest. The sourdough bread served with it was tasty though.
Anger was the next emotion
The story followed the King through his journey ridding the Kingdom of bad emotions. Next up was anger, which was demonstrated by a table on fire!
This was represented by spicy burger with three different chili based accompaniments. You could dress your chicken burger to your desired level of spice with dried chillies, pickled chillies or chilli powder:
I really enjoyed this burger. The crispy chicken and accompaniments, including charcoal bun, were all great. I was a little unsure if this was the ‘main course’. It didn’t seem quite right to have a burger as a main… But by now I was starting to feel full, so at least I was satisfied.
Then they were sad
After the anger came sadness
We were served a magic bottle of something blue. Drinking this made me feel like something out of Alice in Wonderland!
We also were served another cocktail:
As well as representing sadness, this course was representing nostalgia. So that means fish right?!
And pouring it over!
The fish was perfectly cooked – crisp on the outside and tender in the middle. Not a hint of dryness or overcooking. The celeriac mash was a good substitute for potatoes – adding interest with the different flavour. By now though I was full, the portions are certainly generous!
Love (aka dessert – because we all love dessert!)
As we helped Hoshena return to it’s former glory, by sharing our love with the people, so we are rewarded. Chocolate is seen as a decadent ingredient, representative of passion, love and committment. So it seemed fitting to have a double chocolate dessert decorated with rose petals and coconut :
A peak inside the box.
I wasn’t that wowed by the texture of the chocolate coconut dessert. I didn’t realise until afterwards this was probably related to the gluten free aspect of it. However the vegan chocolate sorbet was amazing! I think I liked this as it had a hint of cardamom in it, which is one of my favourite spices. Really good and refreshing after a large meal.
I’ve never been to a dinner before where the table talks to you! So the novelty factor in the Banquet is high. I like their use of different tricks to bring the story and emotions of Hoshena alive. And after all you don’t just come here for dinner. You come to be wowed by floating plates, foggy soup, fiery burgers and the impact of the story playing out around and on you! That being said, this is not the place to bring a date if you want to talk. You need to pay attention to the story to really get the most out of it. That means little time for conversation and playing on your phone (obviously I took lots of pictures though!).
I thought that all the food choices (except maybe the chickpea soup), fit in with the theme and the story being told. I enjoyed the croquettes, the spicy chicken burger and the fish a lot. I definitely left feeling full and satisfied.
The drinks however were a little hit and miss for me. I definitely have a palate that prefers bitter over sour and sweet, and unfortunately most of the drinks balanced sweet and sour flavours. If you aren’t sure about the cocktails suiting you, you can also get wine and soft drinks. Tickets start at £85 per person, not including the drinks pairing and are £110 including all the drinks matching (more than shown above!). So this is definitely something to plan for a very special occasion, not just a mid week spontaneous dinner.
I hope I’ve brought this alive for you, however the only way to really know is to experience it for yourself:
Thanks to the Banquet of Hoshena for hosting me and to Love Pop Ups London for the opportunity to attend!
Location – find the Banquet of Hoshena
Currently the Banquet of Hoshena is in Westfield Shopping centre, Shepherds Bush. To find it head towards the Camper concession in the Atrium – it’s right next to it on the ground floor.
From 8th August the Banquet will move to TT Liquor.